Poor email marketing etiquette. At best it’s embarrassing – at worst, it’s lost you money.
Why proofreading for proposals and important emails matters
Every once in a while, I’ll receive a marketing email. Sometimes it’s from a company I’ve never heard of before – sometimes it’s from a client or acquaintance.
Naturally I’m not always interested – but on certain occasions what they are offering sounds like it could be just what I need. It seems like a great product or proposition. It’s grabbed my attention, and I’m on the verge of replying and asking for more information. But then I spot a blinding spelling error – or I’m stumped by a confused sentence that simply doesn’t make sense. And I’m suddenly not so interested. I wonder whether I actually want to engage their services. I question whether this is a company I want to work with. If they are slapdash now, how will they behave when I spend money with them?
Automatically I get a bad impression of that business – fairly or unfairly. And it’s not just me – countless clients I’ve dealt with have expressed their own contempt for poor copy.
Yes, I’m a copywriter and proofreader. It’s likely that I’ll hone in on the mistakes more swiftly (and mercilessly!) But can you afford to underestimate your potential clientele? Is it productive to assume that they won’t notice – and therefore that it doesn’t matter? Here’s the bottom line. Spelling errors and grammatical gaffes make you look incredibly unprofessional – considerably impairing that all-important first impression.
So how can you get around making avoidable errors in introductory emails and marketing material to ensure that the impression you make is the very best it can be?
Check and check again
As anyone who has spent time carefully compiling any sort of content will know, getting somebody else to look at it and review it with fresh eyes once it’s finished is far more favourable compared with poring over it yourself for another half an hour. Your brain is tired of looking at the same old content – therefore you’re less likely to register where words are missing or have been sneakily swapped by your spellchecker. Of course, few of us have someone on hand at all times to read through everything we write – and as a copywriter I naturally have to check my own work on a daily basis. Therefore I have a few tips and tricks when it comes to proofreading a long piece or particularly important email. Firstly, take a break of at least half an hour before you proof it again. Don’t proofread straight after writing it. Allow your brain to reset and forget what you’ve written so that you can come at it with a fresh perspective. Secondly, take two. Don’t proof it just once. Take another look through and edit as appropriate before you send it.
Naturally you won’t be able to take hours out of your day to proofread every single email you send. For this reason automated proofing is a good idea for business owners with long to do lists and a short amount of time.
I generally don’t recommend Grammarly and its equivalents – countless times I work with clients who’ve been let down by the software. Compared with a human set of eyes (that also have your audience’s interest at heart) it never matches up. But for the purpose of writing everyday emails it’s much more sophisticated than the standard spellchecker included by your email provider – therefore it’s absolutely worth downloading Grammarly as an extra barrier to any inadvertent mistakes and errors.
Invest in important emails
You don’t have to employ a proofreader to check every single email you send – but it’s well worth investing in the important ones. When you send out a newsletter or email marketing campaign, your primary objective is to make money. Therefore the impression it gives really matters. Imagine that you’re sending a proposal or tender to a dream client. Silly spelling mistakes and glaring grammatical errors are going to damage the credibility of your bid (at best) – so it’s worth asking for professional help to ensure that the document you present is absolutely perfect. In short, if £1000 is riding on it, spend £30 to make sure it’s right!